School holidays are a testing time for parents, aren't they? They are absolutely necessary for children of all ages, tired and worn out after a term at school, just as they are for teachers, tired from educating our children and worn out by troublesome parents.
For working parents, school holidays must be a merry-go-round of organising childcare, organising back up childcare and fun things to do as a family, all while putting in the hours at work as usual.
For parents at home, school holidays can be fraught. We find ourselves wondering how the heck to occupy our children all day without devices. These days I just succumb to the device, knowing that watching TV didn't harm me or my friends and that my daughter will get tired of it sooner or later.
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We know school holidays test our limits, but they only last two weeks. Come on parents, we can do this. It's two short weeks that we need to hustle extra hard, schedule, reschedule and then eventually abandon our plans. This year in particular, think of the parents worldwide who have had their kids home from school for over a year now. We all have it easy in comparison. My tips for holidays follow.
Let. It. Go.
This doesn't only apply to allowing Frozen and other movies to be played on repeat, it applies to us adults letting go too. We often only have our own expectations to blame when things don't go the way we want them to, but if you let the expectations go and embrace the boredom, the devices, and the inevitable complaining, then your frame of mind may be better for it.
Don't exhaust yourself
Being at home with the kids can bring about pressure to occupy them every moment of the day. This requires your input most of the time, whether that's partaking in activities with small children, or inevitably driving older ones around the city or country.
Don't overschedule your kids and don't overschedule yourself. You don't need to be out there every day in the car with them taking them to stimulating activities. They (should) get enough intellectual and social stimulation at school, so let them take a break and dial back the activities for the holidays. That's why they're called holidays, right?
Organise play dates ... on your terms
This works well with small kids. Organise play dates with kids that both you and your child enjoy being around. Why subject yourself to the alternative when you're home all day with them? Unlike a birthday party where it's a concentrated few hours of crazy, holiday play dates tend to be longer and more intimate. Make life easy on yourself and invite kids over for the day who play well with yours and who use their manners.
If you can swing it, join the kids on the couch for a midday movie or bake a cake with them, sitting down and eating it. While it's not technically a holiday for you, there is no reason why you can't relax on your own schedule a little and enjoy some down time making memories with the kids.
Now isn't the time to achieve greatness for yourself, so let the kids enjoy being with you too. They will remember those times very fondly.